Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, March 19, 2015


THE LOST TRIBE (1949). Director: William Berke.

In the second "Jungle Jim" feature after Jungle Jim, our hero (Johnny Weissmuller) learns of the hidden city of Zarn. Li Wanna (Elena Verdugo of The Frozen Ghost) comes from Zarn, and her brother Chot (Paul Marion) has given away the secret of the city's location out of lust for the hard-boiled Norina (Myrna Dell of Why Men Leave Home). Now Norina's associates, including her supposed uncle, Calhoun (Joseph Vitale), are after the diamonds of Zarn. To appease the crooks, Li Wanna's father, Zoron (Nelson Leigh of World Without End) asks JJ to bring them a peace offering, although the big guy realizes one little pouch of diamonds won't be enough for them ... The Lost Tribe seems to have a plot built around stock footage, but it's still somewhat entertaining. There's one great shot of the treacherous entrance to Zarn on a narrow plateau many miles above the valley, and JJ has a well-edited battle with a crocodile, and later saves a pearl diver from a voracious shark. JJ's animal friends include Skip the dog; Simba, the gorilla (a man in an ape suit); as well as a frequently-seen crow; and a raccoon. In one scene Simba, with a baby chimp [!] in her arms, battles a lion, and a whole bunch of gorillas go ape shit at the end when they attack the bad guys who are looting Zarn. This has everything but the kitchen sink and the score (uncredited) helps a lot. Jungle Jim simply comes off like an older version of Tarzan who speaks in slightly longer sentences. At one point Li Wanna calls him "Mr. Jim" as if Jim were his last name. It all moves quite swiftly.

Verdict: Fun if you like minor Jungle epics. **1/2.

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